Photo: Chevy, Joy and Emily (and Carl the llama), circa December 2016
Chevy has not been well, he is palliative now. He has really bad arthritis which causes him pain in his knees and hips and he came in many years ago with Johnes disease which eventually causes a malabsorption of nutrients and debilitating weakness. When Chevy lays down to rest, he can't always get back up again, at fi5rst he would struggle for an hour or two, but then it became 3-4 hours. Yesterday he was down for at least 10 hours and maybe more because we aren't sure when he went down during the night. We set up a tentative appointment for euthanization today, and the vet came to check him last night. We decided to try to up his pain meds knowing we were risking harming his kidneys. But at end of life pain always becomes the first priority. Chevy is still up at the end of the day, the vet came by to check him. He said this is not necessarily good because Chevy may now be afraid to lay down A. because it hurts and B. because he knows he might nort be able to get back up again,. We would like to have a couple of days to try him on the increased pain med dose to see how he does but the vet told me that if at any point I think he is suffering, he will come.
Chevy's time is running out and that meant a huge loss for his friend Emily. Emily gets really upset whenever any of the barn guys pass, but she totally loses it when it is one of her cow family. Emily has never been alone here, when she first came in she had Joy and Percy, when Percy passed Chevy came in, when Joy passed, Emily had Chevy. When Chevy passes most likely in the very near future, Emily will be alone for the first time in her life, this will not be good.
Many years ago when Percy lost his foster cow mom Spot, we went to the auction to find him a friend and came home with 2 sick day old calves and Joy plus four crazy little goats. Auctions are really bad places for soft hearted rescuers. Todd, one of the babies died within a few days, Emily the other baby grew and stayed. We cannot go back to the auction ever, we are simply too weak and would come home with far too many.
This time I called the auction, spoke with the auctioner, said we needed a friend for Emily before Chevy passes away. I said we would take anybody, could be old, used up from the dairy industry, just someone who would be Em's friend. As long as I did not have to go there in person, we would take anyone we could get.
The problem with getting someone else pick a cow for you is you are not really sure who you will get. Anyway he called an hour later and said he had a cow for us and she could be delivered today. When the truck arrived, out jumped baby, an 8 month old jersey calf. Not really what we were looking for, we wanted to save a cow. In some respects I guess we did, this babe will never go to slaughter, she will never be bred and have her babies taken away, she will never be hooked up to milking machines for her lifetime, every single day.
So today we were happy to meet the new baby, we are happy that Emily will have a friend to share her grief when Chevy passes. But we are so totally heartbroken that Chevy is ill and will be leaving us soon.
Rescue, the good, the bad, the happy the sad....all in one day. Photo: Baby